Climbing in Class: A Student’s Point of View

IMG_1532Today we were lucky enough to have Kim Patterson shadow our marketing department. Kim is in eighth grade and is part of the first group of students in over 20 years to enjoy her school’s climbing wall in PE class. Kim has been a climber for several years herself and is excited to be learning climbing in school with her friends and peers. Kim guest authored this blog to share with us a student’s perspective on climbing in the classroom.



At my school, we are required to take P.E. for half of the year. Most of the time, we learn to play a sport and play games with teams, but recently for the first time in 20 plus years, they have opened the climbing wall for us to use. As someone who does go rock climbing, this is very exciting, and I am super happy we get to do this. Most of the time when I climb, it is with a harness that is easy to put on, and an auto belay, which I prefer, so when we started talking about it and I found out that we will be using a different kind of harness and we will be learning how to tie knots, and how to belay someone, I got excited. For me, this is fun not only because we will get to climb, but because I am learning how to tie knots, and how to belay with a partner. I know that I’m not the only person who likes this unit, and I think that the kids at my school like learning all of this as well.

There are some things that I wish we could do a little differently, however. Because there are roughly 60 kids in my P.E. class, we have to split and do 2 different activities and climb every other day. I am used to going climbing for a while and not stopping until I am tired, so when I can only go for about 30 minutes, it feels weird, and like I didn’t get to do all that I wanted. I climb at the BRC where there are many different walls to choose from, and they change up the paths, so it isn’t always the same. At school though, I have 2 different paths to choose from, and they are always the same. In my opinion, it would be a good idea to change up the route of the climbing wall every so often.

From all of what I have learned in this class, I think that I have become a better climber. Not just because I have had time to climb, but because I am now more confident in the equipment, and how to use it, as well as helping other people with it. When I asked my PE teacher about the wall, she said that we haven’t been able to use the wall because there wasn’t anyone who was certified to use it. And now that we do have someone who is certified, everyone can use it, and learn more just like I have.

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Walltopia Becomes Head Rush Distributor: Joins Entre Prises and Eldorado Climbing Walls

Walltopia-01BOULDER, Colorado (March 18, 2015) – Head Rush Technologies is pleased to announce Walltopia Ltd. as the newest distributor partner serving climbing wall and adventure recreation customers around the world. Based in Bulgaria, Walltopia is the largest provider of climbing walls in the world.

“Head Rush Technologies continues to expand our long list of international and domestic distributor partnerships with the addition of Walltopia; joining other climbing wall builders Eldorado Climbing Walls and Entre Prises as worldwide suppliers of the TRUBLUE Auto Belay. These partnerships allow owners and operators of current and future climbing gyms to work directly with their builder to include the world’s leading auto belay device in their projects,” says Bill Carlson, Director of Channel Sales at Head Rush Technologies.

Head Rush distributors are authorized to sell all Head Rush products, including the TRUBLUE Auto Belay, QUICKjump Free Fall Device, zipSTOP Zip Line Brake, and associated product accessories. View a list of our distributors at

About Head Rush Technologies

Head Rush Technologies combines innovative engineering and quality production to bring new adventure recreation equipment to the climbing, zip line, adventure and amusement industries. Head Rush Tech products are thoughtfully crafted to minimize risk and enhance user experience. Best known for our application of eddy current magnetic braking technology, products include the award-winning TRUBLUE® Auto Belay, the QUICKjump Free Fall Device®, zipSTOP® Zip Line Brake and the new FlightLine Commercial Descent Device® and Adventure Tower™. All products are available at or through our global network of distributors.


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Maximize The Potential of Your Existing Platforms & Structures

Canyons Zip Photos Low Res 039Whether you’re a zip line tour, challenge course, aerial park, resort, adventure park, family entertainment center, or experiential learning facility, you probably already have platforms or towers in place. These structures can be costly and time-consuming to design and construct, so you might as well make the most of them.

To help you understand how to maximize the power of your existing platforms, we have created a white paper with specific strategies and ideas for increasing revenue and customer satisfaction.

This white paper explains how a minimal investment can expand your activity offerings in order to significantly increase profits. By exploring some out-of-the-box ideas, you will discover ways you can further maximize the potential of your existing infrastructure by turning towers and platforms from single-purpose features into multi-purpose income generators.


The challenge is that many facilities treat platforms as single-use structures with a limited purpose. Each structure is used for one specific activity, whether that’s climbing, jumping, zipping, or as a transition from one activity to another. While these platforms no doubt serve an important purpose in your operation, they don’t actively work to increase revenue, maximize throughput, or satisfy your customers. Building platforms for individual activities is time-consuming, expensive, and hurts the overall ROI of your facility.


The key to generating more revenue from your existing platform is to think creatively about ways to utilize it to its full capacity. Your existing structures can support a wide variety of activities which can contribute to an improved customer experience, increased throughput capacity, and maximized revenue potential. Rather than utlizing one structure for each activity, consider ways to bundle multiple activities together onto your existing towers, creating a multi-use space that takes advantage of the potential for big gains with a minimal investment.

Download the White Paper to learn more about specific strategies for turning your existing platforms into revenue-generating multi-use spaces.


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State of the Climbing Industry: 2014 Recap and 2015 Expectations

climbing wallAccording to Climbing Business Journal’s 2014 Climbing Gyms & Trends article, the climbing industry is continuing to grow and change. Even though growth wasn’t quite as high as expected, the industry is strong and positioned for continued success. Here are some highlights from the article (Note: Read the original article on CBJ):

1. The U.S. climbing gym market grew 9% in 2014 (compared to 10% in 2013).

2. The 9% growth rate is less than what was projected, primarily due to big projects missing their timelines.

3. In 2014, 29 new gyms were completed and 3 existing gyms found new locations.

4. Of the 29 new gyms, 14 were bouldering-only gyms. California alone got 4 new bouldering gyms.

5. CBJ reports their are now a total of 353 commercial climbing facilities in the U.S.

6. Climbing gyms continue to have a very low rate of closure (only 2 in 2014).

Now, for the fun stuff. Based on what was happening in 2014, here are some forward-thinking projections from Climbing Business Journal for how 2015 will shape up.

First, real estate is a consideration. We’ve already started to see that prospective gym owners are struggling to find suitable buildings for climbing gyms. The needs of climbing gyms include high ceilings, large square footage totals, parking, location, price, etc., and if the space isn’t perfect or cost-effective to make perfect, buying existing buildings may not make the most sense. Owners are starting to build their new facilities from scratch to respond to the lack of suitable real estate. CBJ expects to see more new climbing gyms breaking ground on new constructions rather than buying preexisting buildings for 2015.

Secondly, we’ll also probably continue to see climbing gyms multi-tasking by incorporating fitness studios, yoga programs, weight-lifting and other cross-training types of activities into their business model. But, while some are multitasking in one location, others are specializing. The growth of bouldering-only gyms last year is evidence of that.

Thirdly, we’re starting to see more growth from existing companies opening additional facilities, especially traditional gyms opening bouldering gyms or established gyms adding locations in other areas of a metropolis. Also in line with this, we’re seeing more established companies open additional facilities, both in their home region and in new regions. An area of interest is new facilities in areas without established climbing communities (like the Midwest where there isn’t much outdoor climbing). So while we’re still seeing owners new to the scene opening up gyms, this idea of gym companies will several locations is becoming a new norm. It shows the stability in the industry and the potential for climbing gym companies to be successful.

Finally, since the industry is becoming more established and experienced, we’re seeing older facilities upgrading or building new sites to replace their old locations. Some are going bigger, some just newer, but this is a pivotal time where we’re seeing what happens when a gym gets outdated.

For more information, charts and statistics, check out the original article by Climbing Business Journal.

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5 Unique Climbing Wall Designs to Inspire Your Next Project

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of innovation and creativity, especially where our products are concerned. Today we’re talking about unique climbing wall designs, some of which were created in the spirit of fun and reaching new heights, others with a specific purpose in mind. Read on to see 5 of our favorites from around the country. Bonus points for spotting a TRUBLUE!

1. Mountain Dew Can at Miller Park:

The Milwaukee Brewers’ stadium, Miller Park, includes this 25-foot rock wall modeled after a can of Mountain Dew on the Dew Deck. Open since 2013, the wall is managed by Adventure Rock of Brookfield, Wisconsin and is open during every Brewers home game to guests on the Dew Deck. The Brewers’ Dew wall is said to be the first permanent wall in a Major League Baseball stadium.

Photo Credit: Adventure Rock

Photo Credit: Adventure Rock

2. Rubix Cube:

This complex Rubix cube rock wall was built by Adventure Solutions as part of their PlayClimb Xtreme line of products (see more unique walls here). Beyond just looking unique, this wall looks challenging to climb, great for kids and experienced climbers alike.

Photo Credit: Adventure Solutions

Photo Credit: Adventure Solutions

3. Grand Canyon wall for Super Bowl:

This 30-foot-tall by 100-feet wide wall is designed to look like the Grand Canyon. The wall will be within Super Bowl Central in downtown Phoenix and features an 18-foot waterfall meant to symbolize the Colorado River. Twenty people can climb the wall at one time, with each climb costing $5. The Grand Canyon wall will be open from January 28, 2015 to February 1, 2015.

Photo Credit: AZ Super Bowl Host Committee

Photo Credit: AZ Super Bowl Host Committee

4. Twin Peaks:

The first climbing wall inside a restaurant, Twin Peaks Las Vegas features a 39-foot indoor wall that complements their outdoor motif. Guests can climb for $10 ($5 for children) and may even get to race their server up the wall.

Photo Credit: Twin Peaks

Photo Credit: Twin Peaks

5. BaseCamp Climbing Facility:

The tallest climbing wall in the world was built by Entre-Prises on the side of a building in Reno, Nevada. Topping out around 200 feet (61 meters), the wall features different routes covering varying heights to accommodate everything from beginner climbers to speed climbing competitions.

Photo Credit: Entre-Prises US

Photo Credit: Entre-Prises US

Do you have a unique wall to share? Share it with us on Instagram!

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QUICKjump in Climbing Gyms: Arizona on the Rocks and Beacon Climb

Climbing gym owners and operators may assume the only Head Rush device applicable to them is the TRUBLUE Auto Belay. That would make sense since the TRUBLUE was, in fact, designed for climbing, but we’re all about innovation and part of that is thinking outside the box of where our devices can go. A prime example is installing a QUICKjump Free Fall Device into climbing gyms as a value-added perk for customers.

While this trend is still ramping up, we have two great examples to share with you of how, exactly, a QUICKjump could fit into your existing climbing gym space. Pricing for a QUICKjump starts at $2,995 USD.

Arizona on the Rocks

Photo Credit: AZ on the Rocks

Photo Credit: Arizona on the Rocks

Marketed primarily for kids, Arizona on the Rocks uses their QUICKjump for birthday parties, camps, and special events. But don’t let this fool you, adults love the free fall just as much as the kids, as can be seen in their photos. See more setup and platform photos on the Arizona on the Rocks Facebook page.

With a setup like this, it’s probably best to limit the hours of the QUICKjump so as to not impact climbing on the nearby routes. But even with limited hours and including jumping in the price of parties, events, or passes/memberships, installing a QUICKjump would set you apart from other climbing gyms in your area.

Beacon Climbing Centre

Photo Credit: Beacon Climbing Centre

Photo Credit: Beacon Climbing Centre

Beacon Climbing Centre uses their QUICKjump a little differently than Arizona on the Rocks. At Beacon, there are set hours for jumping and additional fees. Jumpers climb up a ladder to a designated QUICKjump platform and make the 10 meter jump down attached to the QUICKjump Free Fall Device. See more photos of the setup and platform on Beacon Climbing’s website.

Beacon has different hours based on when school is in session, but every climbing gym would have different times of peak activity to schedule jumps around. If the jumping lane impacted climbing routes, you’d maybe want to set times based around the workday or school day, with more options on weekends when you perhaps have more kids and families in the gym. Don’t be afraid to include a time-slot in the evenings to catch the interested adults as well. Beacon charges 6 Euros (roughly $7 USD) per jump and has bundle pricing for one jump and an hour of climbing.

The point here is whether you have limited hours or open availability, include a jump with membership or charge additional fees, or only use your QUICKjump for special events and parties, there is no right or wrong way to use a QUICKjump in your climbing gym. Play around with your options, talk to your customers, but no matter what decisions you make, a QUICKjump is a low-cost investment that could increase your revenues and amplify fun in your facility.

Not convinced? Check out the ROI chart to see how quickly your QUICKjump could pay for itself.

If you’re a climbing gym with a QUICKjump, we’d love to hear how it’s going! Send us a quick note to and you could be featured in a future blog post.

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4 Steps to Learn to Lead Climb

learn to lead post - TBTop-roping and bouldering is fun, but to take your climbing to the next level, you’ll need to learn to lead climb. We recommend learning this in the gym, using a TRUBLUE Auto Belay. Remember, lead climbing is a skill and takes practice so be patient learning each step, and most importantly, have fun. Here it is: learn to lead climb in 4 easy steps.

Four Steps to Learn to Lead Climb

1. Learn how to clip:

Practice this while on the ground before taking it up on the wall. Two options:

  • 1) Snap Clip: Pinch the rope between your thumb and pointer finger. Control the quickdraw with your middle finger and use your thumb and pointer finger to push the rope through the gate.
  • 2) Pinch Clip: Drape the rope over your pointer finger. Control the quickdraw by pinching it between your thumb and middle finger and push the rope through the gate with your pointer finger.

2. Practice clipping with a TRUBLUE:

One of the easiest and safest ways to learn to lead climb is while clipped into an auto belay. The TRUBLUE acts as your belayer while you practice and get more comfortable with lead climbing. Get up on a wall and practice clipping using both the snap and pinch clips.

3. Practice falling:

Falling is scary, and potentially dangerous, so you’ll want to find an experienced belayer and practice taking falls. Start small on easy routes and work your way up to larger distances on harder climbs.

4. Continue to practice clipping, climbing, and falling until you feel comfortable.

Lead climbing is super fun and adventurous, but it’s important to be prepared. Keep practicing and be safe out there.

Still confused about lead climbing? Watch the video of Boulder Rock Club’s Chris Wall demonstrating these steps.


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Stay in Climbing Shape for Winter With the 8-week Reach Your Peak Program

CU Rec Center Low Res 017

It’s that time of year. The weather has turned cool enough to thwart your outdoor climbing ambitions but you want to avoid the weight-gain and fitness loss that can come from a long winter. We’ve got you covered—if you have a climbing gym with an auto belay nearby, you can stay in peak shape with Reach Your Peak, our free, self-guided 8-week training program.

What’s Reach Your Peak?

Reach Your Peak is an eight-week training program that utilizes the TRUBLUE Auto Belay to help climbers improve their skills and reach their personal fitness goals. If your goal is general fitness, the program gets you in the gym. If you are a new climber, the program will give you weekly goals to help you improve technique, build strength, develop confidence, and become a better climber. If you’re an experienced climber, the program will help you commit to a routine to work on routes, refine technique, and keep up your momentum and fitness level leading into next season.

Reach Your Peak is designed to help climbers of any level improve overall health, improve endurance, rebound from life changing events such as pregnancy or injury, and enhance existing skill-sets. Of course, there are other unintended side effects that have been seen from following this program, including:

  • Healthy weight-loss
  • Overall feeling of increased “coolness”
  • New-found passion for climbing
  • Toned and strong physique
  • Increased popularity from making new friends at the gym
  • Less tired and sluggish at work
  • Better sleep

How Reach Your Peak Works

Reach Your Peak is a free, downloadable program, meaning you can start when you choose and do the assignments at your own pace and on your own time. Find a partner to keep you motivated or tackle it solo. The program utilizes TRUBLUE Auto Belays so you don’t need a partner or belayer. Each week has a general focus, with related homework to help you progress. Click here to download the program.

Week 1 is about setting goals and determining your current climbing abilities. You’ll be asked to evaluate yourself and keep a journal to track your progress.

Week 2 is about taking your previous weeks’ assessment  and stepping it up a notch. You’ll be asked to practice foot placement through traversing and climbing doubles.

Week 3 is split up—beginners learn to lead climb and advance climbers traverse the entire gym twice (and then practice lead climbing in the homework).

Week 4 is about going back to the beginning and putting it all together, working your way up in difficulty after each successful route, but upping the difficulty by also incorporating a lead rope.

Week 5 is about red-pointing, or picking a route above your skill level and working it repeatedly.

Week 6 is about mastering last weeks’ challenge route, eventually doing two laps consecutively.

Week 7 is about taking your challenge route up a notch, this time aiming for three consecutive laps.

Week 8 is testing day, repeating week one lessons to see how far you’ve come.

How To Incorporate Reach Your Peak Programs Into Your Climbing Gym

Even through Reach Your Peak can be done as an individual training program, it transfers perfectly to a group activity. If you’re a climbing gym owner and want to run a Reach Your Peak program, all you need is an instructor (or two), a signup process, and targeted marketing. It works best to have the group meet weekly at the gym to talk about that days’ lesson plan, then set everyone loose to do their work, while the instructor checks in on everyone. Then gather at the end of the time to discuss what everyone should do for homework until the next meeting.

Ok, enough talking. Let’s get started—who’s with us? Download Reach Your Peak today.


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Demo a TRUBLUE Auto Belay Today!

CU Rec Center Low Res 017

Are you interested in TRUBLUE Auto Belays, but hesitant? Are you not quite sure how auto belays would be received in your facility? Do you want to order TRUBLUEs but would like to see the hard data before you commit? Sounds like you’re a perfect candidate for risk-free 60-day demos to see for yourself.

How Does The TRUBLUE Demo Program Work?

The demo program is quite simple. Let us know you’re interested, sign the basic demo agreement and we’ll send you the devices (you read that right – you can get as many TRUBLUEs as your space allows). At the end of the demo period, either pay for the devices and keep them or send them back. We’ll even cover the cost of shipping both ways.

So It’s Risk and Cost-Free?

That’s right. Head Rush Tech assumes all the risk for the demo program. You pay nothing unless you keep the devices. We’re so confident in our products and their revolutionary eddy current magnetic braking technology that we’ll put our money where our mouths are. We’ll assume this risk because we know you will see how the TRUBLUEs can help increase revenue, mitigate risk, and satisfy customers.

How To Sign Up

If you’re ready to sign up for a 60-day demo or want to learn more, click the link here and fill out the form or just give us a call!. What are you waiting for?!

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TRUBLUE Featured on a Challenge Course on Brazilian Reality Show

We keep talking about how to use a TRUBLUE Auto Belay outside of a climbing gym, and today we’re back with another option. On a recent episode of Brazilian reality show, A Fazenda (The Farm), participants had to complete an obstacle course – most of it several feet off the ground. It’s common to have participants in activities like this harnessed and strapped to prevent serious falls, but this is one of the first times we’ve seen a TRUBLUE serve as the protection mechanism.

From what I can tell (the show isn’t in English), it’s similar to Survivor or other reality shows, where contestants live together, making meals, making friends and in some cases, making enemies, with the final contestant winning a cash prize. They then have challenges – in this episode it was an challenge course – to complete. The course was made of tires and metal structures that contestants had to climb on, around and over. They were wearing full-body harnesses with a dorsal attachment for the TRUBLUE. This application is perfect because as contestants climb, the webbing retracts with them (no extra ropes to deal with) and as they climb down or jump down, they have a controlled descent. To make this work, the TRUBLUE is mounted to a cable running over the obstacle course. As the contestant moves through the course, the TRUBLUE is always above them.

Start watching at about the 42 minute mark to see the TRUBLUE in action. At 43:02, you can watch the first contestant jump from the top of one structure down to the next, gracefully carried by the TRUBLUE. Just after 48:15 you can see the real benefit of a TRUBLUE in this application – possibly preventing injury when slipping. The TRUBLUE portion of the show ends around the 58 minute mark. Enjoy the show!

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